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Audrey Brassell PPE 310: Health Literacy for Schools Dr. Gerald Lynn Miller

9/11/2015

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CHOOSE MY PLATE 2 Introduction This day in age, having healthy food options for students in
CHOOSE MY PLATE 2 Introduction This day in age, having healthy food options for students in

Introduction

This day in age, having healthy food options for students in school is

imperative. Children these days are being encouraged to exercise and eat healthy, but a lot of their time is spent at schools, so it is only right that we provide them with the food that we are encouraging them to eat. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “during the last three decades, the prevalence of obesity has tripled among persons aged 6-19

years.”

How can we expect our children to excel in school when they

aren’t fueling their body with the necessary nutrients needed to keep them

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healthy and focused? It is just as important to inform students of how to take care of their body as it is to inform them of math, science, English, etc. Tools like Choosemyplate.gov make it easy for students to track what they eat and provides them with suggestions on how much physical activity is needed to maintain a healthy weight.

National Standards for School Meals and Local School Wellness Policy

Liberty High School meets the National Standards for School Meals by providing all students with a healthy breakfast that includes fruit, milk, and whole grains. They also provide all students with a lunch that includes healthy options like salads and grilled chicken sandwiches, fruit, vegetables and milk or water. According to the National Standards for School Meals, all schools are required to “increase the availability of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat free and low-fat fluid milk in school meals; reduce the levels of sodium, saturated fat and trans fat in meals; and meet the nutrition needs of school children within their calorie requirements.” By taking a look at the food tracker above, you can see that this student has not exceeded the daily limits of oil, saturated fat, and oils in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Liberty High school is on a free and reduced lunch policy and according to Peoria Unified School District, “Schools will make every effort to eliminate any social stigma attached to, and prevent the overt identification of, students who are eligible for free and reduced-price school meals.” This

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policy allows students who are not financially able, to get breakfast and lunch for free or at a reduced price.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans

A child consuming this breakfast and lunch at school would be meeting the Dietary Guidelines for Americans because it reduces calorie intake, increases the consumption of fruits and vegetables, and decreases the consumption of fats and sodium. For example, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans says to “control calorie intake to manage body weight.” The food tracker above shows that after this student consumes their breakfast and lunch, they still have 1262 calories left to consume for the remaining part of the day. This will give the student the opportunity to eat a snack and dinner without going over the daily allowance of 2000 calories. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans also says to “choose foods that provide more potassium, dietary fiber, calcium, and vitamin D, which are nutrients of concern in American diets. These foods include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and milk and milk products.” The food provided at Liberty High School meets these requirements because every meal they serve comes with fruit, vegetables, choice of milk or water, and all bread served is whole grain. Finally, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans also says to “reduce daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams” and to “consume less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fatty acids.” These requirements are met by Liberty High School because according to the food tracker above, the breakfast and lunch served here successfully reduces the amount of sodium,

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saturated fats, and oils consumed by the students. Overall, Liberty High School does an outstanding job meeting the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Nutritional Improvements

In order to improve the students’ nutritional intake at school, I would make a few changes regarding the choices of fruits and vegetables as well as conducting a survey to better provide these fruits and vegetables. Most of the time, the fruit you see in school is either oranges, apples, or bananas because they are the easiest to serve. They don’t require any prep work like slicing and putting them into containers. Whiles these fruits are easiest to serve, they are not always what the children want to eat, so they might skip eating fruit that day. I would put in more options of fruit for the students to eat like watermelon, pineapple, honeydew, and mangos. These fruits require more prep work, but more of the students will be inclined to eat fruit with their breakfast and lunch if they have more options. Regarding vegetables, I would like to provide more than just salads for the students to eat. The students are less likely to choose a salad as their meal because they typically want a protein to eat with it. So instead of just giving the students vegetable in the form of salads, I would like to put in more options for vegetables like corn, bell peppers, and beans. That way students can still choose a lunch that has protein while also choosing sides of other vegetables, instead of only having carrots and celery as a side option. In order to better provide the students with nutrition at school I would also like to create a survey where

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the students can choose what types of fruit, vegetable, and food in general (that’s still healthy) that they would like to eat. Giving the students the power to choose their own health options will encourage them to continue to live a healthy lifestyle.

Reflection

Using the food tracker not only benefits students, but teachers and everyone else in general. The students can use the food tracker to help them make healthier food choices and participate in the recommended amount of physical activity needed to maintain a healthy weight. Teachers can use the food tracker to see if their school is meeting the guidelines for a wholesome diet, and if their school isn’t they can take the steps necessary to make sure it is. Anyone, not just students and teachers, can use this tool to benefit their eating and exercise habits.

References

Dietary Guidelines for Americans. (2010, January). Retrieved September 12, 2015 from

September 2015 Liberty High School Breakfast and Lunch Menu. (2015, March). Retrieved

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September 12, 2015, from

MyPlate. (n.d.). About us. Retrieved September 12, 2015 from

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "School Health Guidelines to Promote Healthy

Eating and Physical Activity." (2011, September). Retrieved September 12, 2015 from

Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. (2012).

Federal Registrar, 77(17), 4088-4089. Retrieved September 12, 2015

from

Peoria Unified School District's Wellness Policies on Physical Activity and Nutrition. (September,

2013). Retrieved September 12, 2015 from

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